International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS): methodology and baseline medical and neuropsychiatric characteristics of an elderly epidemiological non-demented cohort of Australians aged 70–90 years

Perminder S. Sachdeva1a2a3 c1, Henry Brodatya1a3a4, Simone Reppermunda1, Nicole A. Kochana1a2, Julian N. Trollora1a5, Brian Drapera1a3a4, Melissa J. Slavina1, John Crawforda1, Kristan Kanga1, G. Anthony Broea3a6a7, Karen A. Mathera1a2, Ora Luxa1a8 and the Memory and Ageing Study Teama1

a1 Brain and Ageing Research Program, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

a2 Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Barker Street, Randwick NSW 2031, Australia

a3 Primary Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

a4 Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Avoca Street, Randwick, NSW, Australia

a5 Intellectual Disability Mental Health, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

a6 Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Randwick NSW, Australia

a7 Ageing Research Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Barker Street, Randwick, NSW, Australia

a8 South Eastern Area Laboratory Service, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia

ABSTRACT

Background: The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (Sydney MAS) was initiated in 2005 to examine the clinical characteristics and prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and related syndromes, and to determine the rate of change in cognitive function over time.

Methods: Non-demented community-dwelling individuals (N = 1037) aged 70–90 were recruited from two areas of Sydney, following a random approach to 8914 individuals on the electoral roll. They underwent detailed neuropsychiatric and medical assessments and donated a blood sample for clinical chemistry, proteomics and genomics. A knowledgeable informant was also interviewed. Structural MRI scans were performed on 554 individuals, and subgroups participated in studies of falls and balance, metabolic and inflammatory markers, functional MRI and prospective memory. The cohort is to be followed up with brief telephone reviews annually, and detailed assessments biannually.

Results: This is a generally well-functioning cohort mostly living in private homes and rating their health as being better than average, although vascular risk factors are common. Most (95.5%) participants or their informants identified a cognitive difficulty, and 43.5% had impairment on at least one neuropsychological test. MCI criteria were met by 34.8%; with19.3% qualifying for amnestic MCI, whereas 15.5% had non-amnestic MCI; 1.6% had impairment on neuropsychological test performance but no subjective complaints; and 5.8% could not be classified. The rate of MCI was 30.9% in the youngest (70–75) and 39.1% in the oldest (85–90) age bands. Rates of depression and anxiety were 7.1% and 6.9% respectively.

Conclusions: Cognitive complaints are common in the elderly, and nearly one in three meet criteria for MCI. Longitudinal follow-up of this cohort will delineate the progression of complaints and objective cognitive impairment, and the determinants of such change.

(Received December 04 2009)

(Revised February 18 2010)

(Revised April 19 2010)

(Accepted April 20 2010)

(Online publication July 19 2010)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Professor P. Sachdev, UNSW School of Psychiatry, NPI, Euroa Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Barker Street, Randwick NSW 2031, Australia. Phone: +612-9382 3763; Fax: +612-9382 3774. Email: p.sachdev@unsw.edu.au.